2012 - British boy as solo-round-the-world sailor

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1MIKE PERHAM from Potters Bar, a town near London, was just 14 years of age when he
crossed the Atlantic in a small boat called the 'Cheeky Monkey' in 2007. It won him an
entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest person to cross the Atlantic solo. 


On November 15, 2008, Mike went on an even longer voyage: this time he wanted to sail
all the way around the globe. On August 27, 2009, he finally crossed the finishing line between Lizard Point in Cornwall and Ushant in France after more than nine months at
sea. "It feels amazing," he told the Guardian newspaper after travelling nearly 50,000
kilometres to win his second Guinness Book entry as the world's youngest round-the-
world sailor. Mike completed that remarkable trip in a fifty-foot racing yacht named
`Totallymoney.com' after its main sponsor. The trip took him from Cornwall via
Cape Town all the way down to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. He then crossed the Pa-
cific Ocean and re-entered the Atlantic through the Panama Canal. 


His boat `Totallymoney.com' was a dream to sail on good days, doing nearly 20 knots
(about 40 km/h) on the journey from South Africa to Australia. Mike loved it, because it
was a bit like riding the ocean on a big surfboard. But that was only one of many high-
lights: he watched whales and dolphins playing near his boat and he also enjoyed the Pa-
cific sunsets. "The best thing about sailing is that it's just you and nature out there," he
says. But there were problems, too. The auto pilot on \`Totallymoney.com' broke down
many times during the trip, so Mike hardly got any sleep. He also had to eat like a horse
all day long to keep up his strength, and then he nearly drowned during a storm in the Pa-
cific. On March 27, Mike found himself upside down in the middle of the night with 50-
knot winds and ten-metre waves throwing him about; but he did not want to give up. "I've
set myself the challenge to complete this journey and I will see it through," he wrote in his
25At 16, Mike was physically and psychologically fit for anything, and has always had the
support of his parents and his teachers at St Albans Sport Academy. They all believe that
sailing allows young people to explore their limits and to learn more about life outside

However, most adults agree that there should be a minimum age for such challenges.
Libby Purves, a journalist who writes for The Times newspaper, commented: "This piece
of prize-hunting is a bad, bad idea. Pushy1 parents should not let children risk their lives
 just to become famous." However, even Purves admits that 16 might be the perfect age
for a big adventure. The only problem is that many less talented young people will want
to follow Mike's example.
  (488 words)
Adapted from: Read On 1/2010, Eilers & Schünemann Verlag KG, Bremen
1 pushy - ehrgeizig